ONCE BITTEN: Evans Head resident Craig Ison with the board he was riding when he was attacked by a great white shark at Main Beach.
ONCE BITTEN: Evans Head resident Craig Ison with the board he was riding when he was attacked by a great white shark at Main Beach. Samantha Elley

This is why we will keep writing shark stories

WHEN Craig Ison was attacked by a great white shark in July 2015 at Evans Head's Main Beach, I was the first media person on the scene.

I was confronted with a very shaky and shocked surfing buddy, Geoff Hill, who told me it was like watching a Mick Fanning replay (in reference to the pro surfer's entanglement with a shark in South Africa).

 

Geoff Hill of Woodburn was out with shark attack victim Craig Ison of Evans Head. His board was used as a stretcher to get Mr Ison out of the water.
Photo Samantha Elley / The Northern Star
Geoff Hill of Woodburn was out with shark attack victim Craig Ison of Evans Head. His board was used as a stretcher to get Mr Ison out of the water. Photo Samantha Elley / The Northern Star Samantha Elley

He recounted how he watched as his friend was taken off his board before he fought his way out of the grasp of the huge animal.

Two weeks later I interviewed Reg Hulbert, who had been one of Craig's 'saviours', pulling him out of the water and simply walking home afterwards, covered in blood.

He went to see his doctor to understand why he was getting recurring visions of that morning.

 

REG REMEMBERS: Evans Head resident Reg Hulbert was one of the four men who helped Craig Ison straight after he was attacked by a shark on Main Beach Friday week ago.  Photo Samantha Elley / Express Examiner
REG REMEMBERS: Evans Head resident Reg Hulbert was one of the four men who helped Craig Ison straight after he was attacked by a shark on Main Beach Friday week ago. Photo Samantha Elley / Express Examiner Samantha Elley

Finally, I got to interview Craig himself and there is no doubt his life has changed, with surfing not a high priority anymore.

I've watched and read with interest as solutions have been presented and implemented and, more importantly, how awareness of sharks has helped keep people safe.

There will always be those who attack the media with accusations of sensationalism.

I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a priority to get shark stories out there, after all we are in the business of selling our stories.

However, that aside, it is also our role to keep people informed.

So while we let you know about a 4.5m great white shark tagged off one of our beaches, we are making sure people don't become complacent, and are aware these amazing creatures are still about.

Yes, we know sharks have been in the water for millions of years and it's their home, but people have been going into the water for a long time, too.

It would be remiss of us not to report on shark activity and help people make their own decisions of whether or not they want to go into the water.

So accuse us of 'stirring up' the news if you like, but we will continue to do the job we are paid for and giving the information that may actually be saving human lives.


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